Written by Thomas Brooks. Edited for thought and sense by Michael Pursley.
How does God single out humble souls from all others, to pour out most of the oil of grace into their hearts?
Vessels that God delights to fill, are like broken vessels, they are like contrite spirits: James 4:6, ‘He resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.’
The Greek word for “resists” signifies, to set himself in battle array. God takes the wind out of a proud soul, but he gives grace to the humble. The silver dews flow down from the mountains to the lowest valleys.
God pours in grace to the humble, as men pour in liquor into an empty vessel. He does not drop grace into a humble heart, but he pours it in.
The altar under the law was hollow, to receive the fire, the wood, and the sacrifice ; so the hearts of men, under the gospel, must be humble, empty of all spiritual pride and self-conceitedness, that so they may receive the fire of the Spirit, and Jesus Christ, who offered himself for a sacrifice for our sins.
Humility is both a grace, and a vessel to receive grace. There is none that sees so much need of grace as humble souls. There is none prizes grace like humble souls. There is none improves grace like humble souls. Therefore God singles out the humble soul to fill him to the brim with grace, when the proud is sent empty away.
From The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Vol. III, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ”
Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) was an English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author. Much of what is known about Thomas Brooks has been ascertained from his writings. Born, likely to well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625, where he was preceded by such men as Thomas Hooker, John Cotton, and Thomas Shepard. He was licensed as a preacher of the Gospel by 1640. Before that date, he appears to have spent a number of years at sea, probably as a chaplain with the fleet.
After the conclusion of the First English Civil War, Thomas Brooks became minister at Thomas Apostle’s, London, and was sufficiently renowned to be chosen as preacher before the House of Commons on December 26, 1648. His sermon was afterwards published under the title, ‘God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright’, the text being Psalm 44:18: ‘Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from Thy way’. Three or four years afterwards, he transferred to St. Margaret’s, Fish-street Hill, London.
As a writer C. H. Spurgeon said of him, ‘Brooks scatters stars with both hands, with an eagle eye of faith as well as the eagle eye of imagination’. In 1662, he fell victim to the notorious Act of Uniformity, but he appears to have remained in his parish and to have preached as opportunity arose. Treatises continued to flow from his pen.